General, Journalism

Behind a torrid two days for our old friends at Trinity lies a simple truth… people just don’t like newspaper stocks.

There’s not too much to be gained from going round this block again; particularly if Trinity are getting a bit twitchy on the lawyer front – as the man from The Times appears about to find out…

So, clearly we’re not going anywhere neat the ‘Who said what to whom…’ minutiae of Trinity’s roller-coaster ride on the stock-market over the last 48-hours.

But there are some bigger issues out here that events of the last two days merely reinforces…

That brokers and analysts on either side of the Atlantic just don’t like newspaper stock.

Period. End of.

The only time they will like them again is when they suspect there’s a buyer in town. And in the current climate that buyer is unlikely to be another newspaper group – not with, potentially, both the Competition Commission and OfCom on their case.

Why brokers and analysts don’t ‘do’ newspaper stocks any more is probably not too hard to fathom – in every likelihood, bar The Sunday Times ‘Home’ supplement on a Sunday and the Mrs’ love of a good ‘Mail On Sunday’ read, newspapers aren’t part of their world anymore.

They find their news in the palm of their hand – via their latest BlackBerry app or 3G Apple iPhone.

They are very unlikely to get off the 7.47pm from Waterloo and pick a copy of the Brighton Evening Argus on the way home.

And if they don’t, they don’t see any reason why anyone else would – or should. These people are paid fortunes to glimpse the future; to their mind, what – and how – they are accessing news now will be how and what the rest of us lesser mortals will be doing in three, four or five years time.

And the other point is that most of these characters are locked into a US mind-set; they analyse the data over there to then work out the knock-on effect over here… And one quick glance at the state of US media stocks will tell them all they need to know… Dump. Dump. Dump.

The frightening thing is, of course, is that these boys and girls were fore-casting pretty insurmountable structural challenges to the whole newsprint delivery model long before the current, cyclical challenges took Trinity and Co by the neck and started to squeeze that icy grip.

Put the two together and you get the kind of volatility that have scuppered Trinity’s hopes of a nice, quiet start to the holiday season…

Instead they are left to fire-fight – reaching for the lawyers and the City PR people in a bid to keep some sense of order and stability into their daily, corporate proceedings.

How long they can steam the tide is anyone’s guess. But there seems to be a fairly basic truth in place here.

Brokers, analysts and – in every likelihood – bankers really, really don’t like newspaper stocks.

They suck.

speak up

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